Challenges Across the Pond

 

Welcome back to The Retailbound Blog! Hopefully you enjoyed our interview with James Yu of SimplyGlobo Inc. this past Tuesday. Throughout the summer, I will be conducting various interviews with other knowledgeable business professionals, so be sure to keep reading our blog as to not miss out on what we anticipate to be extremely informative interviews! Next week, I will be publishing an interview with Ria Romano of RPR Public Relations Inc., to add a little insight to the public relations perspective of business.

 

Today, I want to delve a little bit into a topic which many manufacturers may not consider initially: selling products overseas. At first, it may sound simple, after all, isn’t shipping the only thing to worry about? Wrong. Various challenges arise as a result of wanting to sell your products overseas, which we will discuss later in this blog post. However, if able to overcome these challenges, the benefits can be enormous. You can increase your market and sales dramatically, especially if the reception of your product is positive. Just because you are a small business does not mean you have to stay local. There is potential to expand and experience success with the right approach to the serious challenges which must be overcome.

Below I will discuss just a few important challenges which may be faced.

 

1. Currency

Currency can be an issue for many reasons. It may seem as simple as using an online converter to see how much your product in USD is worth in GBP, but many factors must be considered in deciding the price of your product overseas. You will have to factor in shipping costs, overseas agent fees, taxes, importing and exporting costs. This list could be longer or shorter, depending on where and what you are trying to sell overseas and with whom you are working. Make sure to contact the correct people when considering selling overseas. Depending on the currency or country, these costs may differ than what you are used to on home turf.

 

 

2. Cross-Time Zone Business

The United States spans across four different time zones. The whole world, however, is a lot more than that. Your regular business hours may not share a single business hour with a potential country you wish to export your product to. This barrier can be broken by availing yourself to the hours of the country which you are wishing to export your product to. Though this initially may seem like a pain, it is a necessary sacrifice to prove to potential distributors and vendors overseas your dedication and willingness to sell overseas. It demonstrates commitment; just make sure it is a commitment you are willing to follow through on. It is tempting to finish work at your normal end time, but working those extra couple of hours, even if at an inconvenient time, may yield large benefits if your product becomes successful.

 

3. Legalities

The legal system is not uniform throughout the world. You must make sure that you are abiding and aware of all codes and conducts of the countries you are wishing to sell your products in. If your product is manufactured in the United States, the conditions under which the product is manufactured may not be accepted or legal in another country. Make sure that research is performed in relation to these aspects as to not encounter any surprise legal issues or lawsuits.

 

4. Language/Culture

Having your product description in English when you are trying to market your product to a market overseas who do not speak English benefits nobody. Make sure that your product instructions or packaging are user friendly. This is also another cost which may be incurred. You may have to change your packaging completely, seeing as different markets find different looks aesthetically pleasing or intriguing. Make sure you are aware of what these potential market’s culture is like, what products have been successful with them, and which have not. You may have to raise or increase your price to match the market or change your marketing strategy.

 

5. Freight/Delivery

This is the most obvious issue which may be encountered. Can you afford to ship your product overseas? Many people underestimate the cost it takes to ship overseas. With most of my family residing in Europe, when I leave something there after vacation, often times, it is far more worth it for me to just grab it next time I am there, reason being shipping is very expensive! You must be aware of the costs of freight and delivery, because these will be costs that YOU, not your distributor or vendor, will be responsible for. You may have to alter the price you are trying to sell your product for to help rebound from any additional costs delivery and freight may cost, depending on just how much that value is. This addition cost MUST be factored into your price. If you’re trying to decrease the price of shipping your goods, look into other freighting companies, such as Dallas trucking companies for example.

 

Hopefully this blog post was informative and not entirely discouraging in your attempt to market your product overseas!

 

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For more information, check us out at www.retailbound.com, and don’t be afraid to email us at info@retailbound.com with any additional questions or inquiries.

 

Have a great Thursday!

 

Best,

Evie

 

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